Tony Meola Speaks Out on Soccer & Teams Up With Allstate Ahead of Gold Cup Match
Tony Meola has joined Allstate to heighten the fan experience ahead of the USMNT successful victory against Martinique in Tampa Bay. The former USMNT goalkeeper has joined with Allstate at Shimberg Sports Complex to give back to the game that, as Tony Meola says, “has given me so much.”
SoccerToday spoke with Meola on the state of American soccer and talent making their way through the ranks.
‘America doesn’t need to play like Germany or Brazil to win,” says Tony Meola.
Soccer News: Soccer legend Tony Meola was on hand as USA soccer fans celebrated the U.S. Men’s National Team win in its second match of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup. And, Meola was proud of our nation’s accomplishments on and off the field.
23,368 Red, White and Blue fans cheered at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, loving the brace from Jordan Morris and the single strike from Omar Gonzalez which earned a wild 3-2 victory against Martinique, moving our National team atop Group B.
“Our players are technically advanced and are willing to fight for 90 minutes,” said Meola.
Meola believes that we should stop trying to mirror the philosophy of other countries and play to our strengths. He points out that we are not Germany and should not emulate another country like Brazil.
“We can compete with the rest of the world.”
While tens of thousands of American soccer fans thrilled with the victory, Meola had brought smiles to the face of youth players earlier with the help of Allstate and the enhanced fan experience of the USMNT’s CONCACAF Gold Cup match.
The former U.S. Men’s National Team (USMNT) goalkeeper believes U.S. Soccer should set goals high due to past achievements.
“We are way past the building stage – we want and should be a better version of what we were in 2002 when we were one of the top eight in the world,” said Meola. “We were not that far off then. We could have made it into the semis.”
He further highlights the exciting talent coming through the ranks at the goalkeeper position.
“For a period of five years there were concerns that young players were not getting enough time in the MLS, but there’s a great deal of talent now,” said Meola. “It will be interesting to see what Bruce Arena does with that third goalkeeping position.””
“We have some very special players like Christian Pulisic and we should be proud.”
Meola was a member of the USA squad at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in South Korea and Japan. The team edged Mexico in the Round of 16 before falling to Germany as part of the final eight teams.
Meola is proud to be working with Allstate, which was named the Official Protector of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Allstate is assuming this role for the second time and will be escorting the Cup as well as giving fans exclusive access as part of its goal to #ProtectTheCup on the national eight-city tour.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to give back to the sport that has given me so much,” said Meola.
Allstate is giving fans the opportunity to interact and take photos with the coveted Gold Cup Trophy at the Allstate Protection Zone ahead of kickoff — and why not share this experience with inner city kids who really deserve it?
Inner-city soccer fields are often safe havens that give passionate soccer fans the opportunity to enjoy the sport they love, but the upkeep of the fields can often be a challenge. Allstate teamed up with Meola along with local Allstate agency owners to restore Shimberg Sports Complex.
Allstate and Meola will be replacing grass, goals, and nets as well as installing new bleachers and benches at the field. Local high school goalkeepers will also get the chance to participate in a special clinic led by Meola following the field refurbishment.
Meola played 100 games for the USMNT between 1988-2006 and won two CONCACAF Gold Cups with the USMNT in 1991 and 2002. He was also named MLS MVP, Goalkeeper of the Year and MLS Cup MVP as he led the Kansas City Wizards to a Championship in 2000. He knows what it means to wear the USA emblem on his soccer jersey with pride.
“Representing your country is the highlight of one’s international career,” said Meola.
Fans are encouraged to use #PROTECTTHECUP and #PROTEGALACOPA to share pictures of the trophy and follow along as it travels the country during the Tournament. Meola will also be available for autographs at the Allstate Protection Zone ahead of the match.